Armthorpe Wolves support plans for new girls only football league in Doncaster by running SSE Wildcats Centre

Armthorpe Wolves chairman Tony Walton, right, and treasurer Bradley Walton, left, Tony's son, meet England star Rachel Yankey at the Houses of Parliament to commemorate Girls' Football Week.
Armthorpe Wolves chairman Tony Walton, right, and treasurer Bradley Walton, left, Tony's son, meet England star Rachel Yankey at the Houses of Parliament to commemorate Girls' Football Week.

A girls only football league will be launched in Doncaster next year.

The new junior competition has been drawn up by the Doncaster & District Junior Sunday Football League as part of a wider FA initiative to get more girls active and playing football.

Armthorpe Wolves are among a handful of clubs in Doncaster currently running FA SSE Wildcats Centres - aimed at girls aged between five and 11.

Wolves’ chairman Tony Walton explained: “The SSE Wildcats is a 16-week programme to basically get girls exercising in a female-only environment.

“It’s girls only because a lot of girls start football, enjoy football, but then in the first couple of years get lost in it and locked out of it because of their stature.

“What this is aimed at is trying to develop girls only leagues, so it’s girls playing against girls and they develop quicker.

“The obesity rates within girls are going through the roof.

“We’ve got a duty of care to these kids to make sure they get from behind their television sets and PlayStations and get them out there and get exercising. That’s what we’re trying to push.

“There are a number of clubs in the Doncaster area doing it - Moorends, Bessacarr. But it’s a new one for us, a new one for our area.

“We were invited to the Houses of Parliament for Girls’ Football Week to talk to MPs and tell them about our initiatives and the struggles we have in the area when it comes to funding and facilities.

“We like to drive different initiatives - like walking football - and we work closely with the County FA to try and find new ways of working.

“The drive is not just to do 16 sessions and pack in,” he added.

“There’s already an agreement that Doncaster District Junior Football League will have a girls only league next year.

“What we ultimately hope to do is feed girls into Doncaster Belles, Sheffield United Ladies and so on. That’s the long term aim.

“As a club we’d like to get some girls only teams, and I know a number of other clubs would like to do that.”

Local MP, Dame Rosie Winterton said: “Armthorpe Wolves are doing a fantastic job here in Doncaster, helping the FA work towards their target to double the number of women and girls taking part in football by 2020, and I was delighted to meet their coaches and to show my support for The FA’s Girls’ Football Week and hear about the increasing number of opportunities for girls to participate in the sport across the country.”

Armthorpe Wolves’ SSE Wilcdcats sessions take place at Armthorpe Southfield Primary School on Saturday mornings (10.30-11.30am).

The cost is £2 per session.